As of Tuesday, May 1, 2018
A Hood River County Parks employee with nearly 25 years with the department was arraigned Monday on 13 counts of theft, with the allegation that he stole $125,000 from the county over the past eight years, Assistant District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen told Circuit Court Judge Karen Ostrye.
Cory Wayne Van Sickle, 48, served as a Park Technician II, and has been employed by the county since March 16, 1993. He was hired as a seasonal laborer and was promoted to a full time Park Technician in September 1997.
Van Sickle was indicted April 20 by county grand jury on five counts of aggravated theft ($10,000 or more) and eight counts of First Degree Theft ($1,000 or more).
Van Sickle’s bail was reduced from $125,000 to $75,000 by Ostrye. Van Sickle, who lives in The Dalles, appeared by video from NORCOR, the jail in The Dalles, where he is being held. Van Sickle will be formally represented by Matthew Ellis of Morris Starns and Sullivan, Hood River, though attorney Sean Pank from the same firm appeared on video at the jail with him.
Rasmussen said the original bail reflected the “substantial sums of cash” allegedly stolen and the fact that the allegations were repeated for years. Pank said the original bail was “excessive,” given that Van Sickle has no criminal record and Ostrye said she agreed.
Van Sickle’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 8, and Rasmussen said that she will request that the defendant be ordered to have no contact with county officials. She plans to present a list of those names.
The allegations stemmed in part from Van Sickle’s “fiduciary duties” with the county, according to court documents. Rasmussen and County Administrator Jeff Hecksel both said, with the case pending, they could not comment at this time on the nature or means of the allegations.
The county’s job description for Van Sickle’s position states that a Parks II technician “performs semi-skilled and skilled tasks in park maintenance, building maintenance, equipment maintenance and repair, chemical applications, grant writing, and capital construction projects. This position may be required to give direction and oversee works crews, volunteers and personnel assigned to projects.”